Florican population faces extinction threat

The Bengal florican, a critically endangered species, faces the threat of extinction due to commercial dry-season rice cultivation in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap floodplains. MATTHEW KWAN/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY

Phak Seangly and Jovina Chua
The Phnom Penh Post, Fri, 9 June 2017

The increase in commercial dry-season rice cultivation in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap floodplain is threatening the survival of the critically endangered Bengal florican, a new study suggests.

Conducted by researchers from the Imperial College of London, the University of Oxford and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the study, which was published in the international journal of conservation Oryx on May 29, surveyed 616 households in 21 villages on their livelihood activities at the Tonle Sap Floodplain Protected Landscape in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces.

Results showed a sharp increase in the number of farmers who have adopted dry-season rice cultivation since 2005. Among these farmers, almost half grew more than one crop per year.

According to the study, not only does the rice cultivation encroach on breeding areas, agro-chemical use affects the species’ food source.

As opposed to cultivating just one crop per year, which “doesn’t overlap much with the florican breeding season”, the cultivation of two crops annually “means that the fields are flooded throughout the time when the floricans are trying to breed”, WCS’s Senior Technical Advisor Simon Mahood explained in an email yesterday.

He said that the increase in dry-season rice adoption could be attributed to its profitability and reliability.“Irrigation infrastructure has been improved and farming methods have been mechanised, so they are able to grow two crops instead of one,” he added.

With less than 800 of these rare birds left globally, Cambodia is the home of more than half, and is therefore “the most important country worldwide for Bengal florican conservation”, according to the WCS. (more…)

Posted on: June 8, 2017 10:03 pm

Locals raising funds for wildlife watering holes

A young banteng spotted near the Kampong Speu community. Photo supplied

Phak Seangly, The Phnom Penh Post
Thu, 5 January 2017

A Kampong Speu community is looking to raise money to build three watering holes for wildlife, especially the endangered banteng, for the upcoming hot season after a nearby sugarcane plantation allegedly filled in existing streams.

The Prambei community in the province’s Thpong district launched a campaign on Monday to raise $4,500 to build three ponds after villagers alleged that tenants of the controversial sugar company, Phnom Penh Sugar, filled close to 50 natural streams, reducing watering options for wildlife. “In the sugarcane plantation, they filled it all, and that leads to the lack of water,” said Soeun Lay, head of the community. “It is then hard for the animals to survive.”

Phnom Penh Sugar’s director, Seng Nhak, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Provincial Governor Keav Leangkea, however, denied that the company had filled the streams, attributing the water scarcity solely to last year’s drought.

“With regards to filling the river, we have inspected it, but it seems not to be filled. The company also wants the water for the sugarcane,” he said.

Liv Sarum, another community member, said more than 700 families were attempting to raise the money and had so far raised $300 from a group of students. He added that the filling of the streams had compounded the effects of the drought.

“Last year, there was no water. In the past, there was enough water, but now [the former stream] has become the sugarcane plantation.”

Posted on: January 4, 2017 8:24 pm

Music amongst the trees

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~Minnie Aumonier

Posted on: July 28, 2016 10:34 pm

River facts

Small rivers often have different names which include creek, stream and brook.

Rivers normally contain freshwater.

The word upriver (or upstream) refers to the direction of the river’s water source, while downriver (or downstream) refers to the direction in which the water flows, i.e. towards the end of the river.

Source: Science Kids

 

Posted on: July 28, 2016 10:27 pm

Land use changes

Around three quarters of the increase in CO2 levels from human activity over the last 20 years is from the burning of fossil fuels. The rest is made up largely of land use changes such as deforestation. Source: Science Facts


Posted on: July 4, 2016 2:33 pm

Perfection

RFA photo

Every oak will lose a leaf to the wind.
Every star-thistle has a thorn.
Every flower has a blemish.
Every wave washes back upon itself.
Every ocean embraces a storm.
Every raindrop falls with precision.
Every slithering snail leaves its silver trail.
Every butterfly flies until its wings are torn.
Every tree-frog is obligated to sing.
Every sound has an echo in the canyon.
Every pine drops its needles to the forest floor.
Creation’s whispered breath at dusk comes
with a frost and leaves within dawn’s faint mist,
for all of existence remains perfect, adorned,
with a dead sparrow on the ground.

(Poem titled : ‘Perfection’ by R.H.Peat)
― R.H. Peat

 

Posted on: June 7, 2016 9:31 pm